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Do you want to see Stockholm in 24 hours? That’s an impressive challenge, fellow traveler! But you can definitely do it.
As for me, I spent roughly five days in Stockholm to attend a TBEX Conference. Although I had plenty of spare time, I still think you’re able to enjoy Stockholm even on a tight itinerary. I’d pick one day in Stockholm over zero days in Stockholm. Hands down.
Stockholm’s one of those places everyone I talk to seems to love. And I get it.
It’s understandable why tourists flock to Sweden’s capital especially in the summer. The sun doesn’t set until after 11 pm. (say whaaaat) giving visitors plenty of time to frolic outside and see as much as humanely possible.
Statistically, Stockholm’s also safe. English is widely spoken making tourism accessible for Americans, Canadians, Brits, and other native speakers.
But, even with the capital’s many positive attributes, is 24 hours in Stockholm really enough to experience this city?
Stockholm in 24 Hours – Is It Possible?
As a capital city, it’s not necessarily ideal to see Stockholm in one day. Capitals have so much going on! All the time! I could’ve spent another week in Stockholm, to be honest.
However, regardless of Stockholm’s inherent awesomeness, it’s understandable to do a “Stockholm One Day Itinerary” mainly due to budget restrictions.
Let’s be real about money and Scandinavia. We all know Sweden is expensive. And capital cities? Double the costs, haha.
Time for a true story about budgets and how they go, ahem, awry in Stockholm. On my adventure, I decided for the sake of my own enjoyment that I wouldn’t check my credit card bill until I was safe and sound in New Jersey. Three weeks later, I nearly passed out at the amount written on my bill. Believe me, when I say the damage was epic.
Anyway, sure, try and see Stockholm in one day, but just don’t go in completely blind. Have a plan to get the most out of every hour.
Read More: Buy Your Pocket Guide for Stockholm
What to See in Stockholm in One Day
Firm decisions need to be made for your day trip in Stockholm. Waffling around = wasted time.
Luckily for you, Stockholm is a gorgeous city with lots of sites for every kind of traveler. Like I already said, you won’t get bored.
Additionally, you ought to keep in mind Stockholm has plenty of activities that don’t require you to break your budget. Even strolling around the city for free would make a perfect day if that midnight sun is shining above your head.
But I’ll talk more about money (everyone’s favorite topic!) later in this post. Let’s touch on our rough itinerary first.
1. Go to the Gamla Stan or the Old Town
Take a walk around the Old Town (Gamla Stan) in the morning.
Gamla Stan has a lot of great spots so make sure to prioritize your time.
First go to Stortorget, which is the colorful main square (and Stockholm’s oldest) with all the cool tall red and yellow houses that everyone loves to snap pictures of. You shouldn’t have too many crowds by checking out Stortoget early in your day.
Next I would make a choice. If you like palaces, then pay a visit to the Swedish Royal Palace with all its rooms in frilly Rococo style. You’ll feel filthy rich. However, if you like science and politics, then go to Nobelmuseet or Nobel Museum which is all about … you guessed it! The Nobel Peace Prize!
Lastly, don’t miss the Storkyrkan, which is the oldest church in Stockholm, being originally constructed as a chapel in the 12th century.
2. Take a Walk to the Fotografiska or Photography Museum
My favorite museum in all of Stockholm was Fotografiska. I’d re-visit Stockholm just to come here.
Fotografiska is the best museum for contemporary photography. Believe me, there’s plenty to see with four large exhibitions and twenty smaller ones.
Not to mention, Fotografiska has a phenomenal cafe on the top floor, providing some of the greatest views of Stockholm. Don’t forget to bring your own camera with you.
3. See Stockholm’s Contemporary Side
The Old Town is great, but don’t skip contemporary Stockholm on your trip either!
Stockholm has many trendy neighborhoods for you to explore.
For example, go to Södermalm for vintage shopping and trendy cafes.
You’ll also want to check out Östermalm in the center of the city. This residential neighborhood has some of the most expensive and poshest homes in Stockholm. However, it’s a major nightlife hub with plenty to keep you occupied the entire evening. Fun times!
4. Learn All About History at the Vasa Museum
The Vasa Museum is located on the island Djurgården, which is beloved by locals and tourists alike. Take some time to walk around Djurgården before hitting up the Vasa.
In this museum, you’ll see the Vasa, which is a 69 meter-long warship and the only preserved 17th century ship in the entire world. Your jaw will drop upon seeing the size of this thing. I know mine did. History books don’t do a justice to these ships.
This ship sank on its maiden voyage and was miraculously salvaged for visitors to enjoy today. Take your time reading the exhibits to learn all about life onboard ships such as the Vasa.
You’ll feel transported back in time in this museum.
Read More: The Best 7 Experiences to Have in Stockholm
5. Take a Scenic Boat Ride at Sunset
Last but not least you’ll want to do some boat sightseeing with your 24 hours in Stockholm.
After all, Stockholm is a city on the water. Therefore it would be a crime not to take a boat ride throughout the city’s many islands.
If you absolutely adore the outdoors and have time to spare, then I would do an Archipelago Tour of Sweden’s islands. A tour of this nature takes about 3 hours, so only do a tour that’s this long if you’re willing to swap out one of the museums.
Best Accommodation for 1 Day in Stockholm
Moving onto hotels, hostels, and apartments.
Centrally located accommodation is essential since we’re seeing Stockholm in 24 hours. Don’t you dare settle for the outskirts of town.
On my trip, I stayed at the Haymarket by Scandic, located near the Central Station. Haymarket was glitzy and fun, and the location was excellent for boarding the metro. However, it was a bit on the expensive side.
For travelers on a budget, I’ve heard fantastic things about City Backpackers Hostel and want to stay there myself in the near future!
Reserve Your Stay: Book Accommodation in Stockholm
Stockholm in 24 Hours & Transportation
Luckily for you, even though you’re only exploring Stockholm in 24 hours, the city has an outstanding public transportation system! So take advantage of it!
After landing at the airport, the quickest way to get into town is the Arlanda Express Train, which only takes about 20 minutes and drops you at Stockholm Central Station.
Stockholm’s metro system goes to all important places in the city. I used the metro all the time on my visit. I don’t remember any delays either, which is also pretty cool.
Last but not least, let’s not forget that Stockholm’s metro is home to a very cool (and free!) public art gallery. These 14 beautiful stations will feel like a contemporary art museum for the price of a metro ticket.
Other Tips for Seeing Stockholm in 1 Day
Finally I want to conclude this guide with some tips for effectively enjoying Stockholm in 24 hours.
A lot of these suggestions (such as buying travel insurance) can be applied to other European capitals while others (like the cost of alcohol) are specific to Sweden’s capital.
Let’s wrap it up!
1. Safety and Stockholm
First and foremost, Stockholm is incredibly safe. I even had a taxi driver tell me that in Sweden you could leave your card in the ATM and someone would give it back. Crazy, huh?
And yes, in my experience, Stockholm felt way safer than many American cities of its size.
However, despite Stockholm’s great reputation, ignoring safety isn’t a great idea, particularly for solo travelers.
For example, personally, I wouldn’t roam around the Stockholm Central Station area late at night. My train arrived after midnight, and the place was deserted. While I don’t think it was necessarily dangerous, I didn’t feel 100% comfortable and took a cab to my accommodation.
As always, keep a close eye on your belongings and remember you’re under no obligation to talk to someone who won’t leave you alone.
Common sense, such as being aware of your surroundings and listening to your intuition, wins the day here.
2. Ways to Keep Costs Down in Stockholm
Okay, time to address Stockholm’s high prices.
First of all, don’t drink too much alcohol in Stockholm. A pint of beer is heavily, heavily taxed, and just not worth paying for, in my opinion. Most young people buy alcohol at the local Systembolaget rather than in bars and clubs.
Another way to help you save on costs is to use public transportation whenever possible. Taxis will ruin you. Even better, walk reasonable distances and see Sweden’s capital on foot.
And like I already said, believe it or not, Stockholm has some great hostels available for backpackers. Dorm beds are the best deals in town.
3. Enjoy the art of Fika
Eeeee, Fika. Fika is the best thing ever and I want to bring it to New Jersey where we’re over-worked and over-stressed to maximum levels.
Ahem. Anyway. What’s Fika? Fika is a social and relaxed coffee break that’s common throughout Sweden.
And, as I already made insanely obvious, I love the concept of slowing down, sipping your coffee, nibbling on something sweet, and sharing meaningful conversations with dear friends and family.
So, obviously, you don’t want to skip over Fika during your lovely day in Stockholm.
One of my favorite places to have Fika is in Fotografiska. Sip a coffee and eat a cinnamon bun, while gazing at views of Stockholm’s Old Town. Seriously, I could sit there for hours and hours.
Fika is a cultural practice that every traveler ought to experience, even with 24 hour time restrictions.
4. Don’t Leave Home without Travel Insurance
Although Stockholm is safe, never go on an international trip without adequate travel insurance. You’ll regret it.
For example, my train in Copenhagen was canceled, and I arrived in Stockholm close to five hours late (aka in the middle of the night). If I never arrived in Stockholm and destroyed my itinerary, I’d need to go to my travel insurance company for help.
5. Don’t Forget that Credit Card
Believe it or not, some places in Stockholm don’t take cash. Yes, you read that correctly. Sweden’s a pretty cash free society.
So take your credit card with you when exploring Stockholm in one day, or else you might find yourself in financial trouble!
I would bring a credit card with no foreign transaction fees such as Chase’s Sapphire Preferred card. You don’t want to pay fees if you don’t have to, right?
As always, let your bank know ahead of time that you’ll be traveling overseas. What I love about Chase is you’re able to make travel plans online and not have to speak to anyone over the phone, haha. Yeah, I’m pretty anti-social at times.
Read More: Pack Your Lonely Planet Guide to Sweden
I hope you enjoyed my guide to seeing Stockholm in 24 hours. Have you ever been to Stockholm? What are your favorite things to see and do? What do you think is the best way to save money in Stockholm? Share all your thoughts in the comments.
Thanks for your support, readers!